For all money Wednesday night's Ballinger Transport Pace (1730 metres) at Bathurst Paceway looked a dead heat, with a plethora of hope and speculation among trackside punters until the number four flashed up on the screen.
That winning number belonged to $4 chance Sonny Studleigh, the big gelding winning by a matter of centimetres from $1.40 favourite Bettor Jiggle, thanks largely to a patient, well-timed drive from Browns Creek's Jake Davis.
Davis had spent the entire race tucked behind the favourite and leader in Bettor Jiggle in the hopes of finding space to make a winning charge in the home straight.
Bettor Jiggle's driver Nathan Turnbull attempted to wave goodbye to the field on the turn for home and waited to see if anyone could answer the challenge, Davis and his gelding did just that.
The Leigh Davis-trained Sonny Studleigh looked the only one capable of keeping pace with Turnbull and his charge, doing so and then some.
Sonny Studleigh pulled to the outside but his younger rival refused to be beaten easily, leading to a tense final 50 metres of racing.
The pair hit the line together with nothing between them but the photo finish gave Sonny Studleigh his 10th career victory, and his first of this season.
"I got the run that I wanted. He's really good with the sit," Jake Davis said of his seven-year-old.
"He just wasn't good enough last week but the week before that he probably should have won that race but he wasn't driven well by me.
"He's down in grade a bit and he was going to win a race sooner or later."
Davis said he's not sure what the plan is for the aging Sonny Studleigh, but suggested he will return to Bathurst Paceway and potentially as early as next week.
"He's getting older and he takes a bit more looking after now. We'll see how he pulls up after this and we'll probably bring him here again next week," he said.
Grecian Holiday ($41, John O'Shea) finished strongly to break away from the chasing pack and finish 4.5 metres behind the leading pair in third.
It was a much needed win for Sonny Studleigh who had placed five times since his previous win back in March of 2018.
The winning mile rate was 1:58.7.
In the night's top-graded Reliance Bank Pace (1730m) Thunder Dance ($2.25 favourite, Lachie Manzelmann) continued his enviable streak of form for trainer Kerry McDowell with a win over Foureight (Mat Rue).
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